The Key, The Secret
10 September 2021 10:47
Picture the scene: after several weeks of looking forward to your holiday, you arrive at a posh hotel. Resplendent with marble, sparkling chandeliers and a team of concierges with perfectly pressed suits and polished brogues.
Having sipped your welcome glass of prosecco and signed forms with a parker pen, you're given a key to the guestroom.
A key? What, a metal key?! Perish the thought that I’m going to have to open my room with a key.
It’s no secret, the guestroom key has long since disappeared from hotel receptions across the UK. Cumbersome, awkward and 1985, the metal key has been replaced by the smaller, sleeker, smarter keycard - easier to manage, cheaper to replace and more convenient for the guest and hotel.
However, what about that time(s) you lugged three bags and a laptop up to the room, and the keycard doesn’t work? Tired and frustrated, you return to reception, have your keycard reprogrammed and repeat the journey, crossing your fingers that this time, it'll work.
A surprisingly common occurrence due to the nature of keycard technology. Have you kept it in the same pocket as your smart phone? desensitised magnet strip? encoding equipment needs a clean? debris in the lock?
Maybe user error: did you leave the keycard in the door too long? Or not long enough?
Whilst the metal key might seem like a relic from the past, it’s always going to work.
So, as we enter a world where the smartphone is increasingly being used to open doors, we need to explore the obvious parallel.
Technology is great, but only when it works.
And whilst we're on the subject, what about the other parallel? - the importance of the first impression.
Get it right, the first time
If you give your guest a metal key, that's not a good first impression. But if you give your guest a keycard that doesn't open the door, that's also not the best of starts.
And this is at the forefront of Airwave’s thinking. Whilst we’re keen to deliver cutting-edge technology – we will never do so if it’s at the expense of the optimum user experience.
Of course, a system can be cutting-edge and still work flawlessly, but if it doesn’t, if it suffers from teething issues or interoperability/integration woes, we won’t sign it off, and we definitely won’t implement it. That would just be technology, for technology's sake...
The future of hospitality technology lies within IoT (the Internet of Things), which by the nature of its beast, will suffer from occasional instabilities and integration issues. However, with high risk comes high reward, and our job is to deliver the reward, whilst mitigating the risk.
So, with this in mind, hospitality technology’s priority must be the integration of technologies, to make them work, and to make them work every time, thus providing a seamless experience for the user.